In light of the increase in the number of patients in Beersheba and the environs and a sharp rise in their needs, representatives of Ezer Mizion-Southern Region approached the Bet Moriah community and suggested a collaboration between Ezer Mizion and community volunteers. Continue reading The Negev Comes to Life
Mazel tov’s were resounding in room after room as newborns arrived to the joy of their families. But one room was quiet. A new baby was born but something was wrong. It seemed to be a heart defect. The doctors conferred. Top Israeli pediatric cardiologists were called in for consultations. The defect was a rare one and none of the specialists had any experience with it. A solution had to be found soon. Rabbi Shimon Rogoway, Director of Ezer Mizion’s Medical Referral Department, was brought into the picture. “Yes, I do know of a doctor who has experience in this type of defect but he’s in Boston. Continue reading Of Saving Lives and Beeping Phones
We stood at the door, needy and poor
Searched for words, but none would appear.
For you, Leah, mere words could never express,
Just a hot and glistening tear.
For whatever we’d say, any words we’d outpour
You were so, so much more…
You were so, so much more…
A mother and daughter, sister and wife,
Your “flock” always there at your side,
With devotion and will, and always so calm,
Your children you gently would guide.
You had such a pure and pleasant demeanor,
Your genuine joy captivated.
You knew to be silent, even in pain,
A true inner wholeness radiated
I felt your strong image obligating us all,
For we saw a life story of courage,
A tale – short, yet long – from which we must learn,
An epic to urge and encourage.
I saw your figure arousing, demanding –
So simple, yet sincerely so pure.
Teaching: What value has a transient world
Versus Torah heights that endure?
I merited seeing how one can and must
Live with rivers of flowing love
For every mitzvah, for each creature,
And for the Creator above.
I had a walking textbook before my eyes,
Of how to feel the pulse of time as it flies.
Pearls carefully strung, pieces of life
Stories too many to count,
You were… You said…
You left us a legacy…
A wondrous lifetime account.
Volunteering at your bedside was a privilege indeed,
Your radiant character inspiring,
Days and nights, how you hoped and believed,
I was awed by your faith, never tiring.
You lay in your bed, wounded and aching,
Your body, in agony and pain
Yet you did all to give a good feeling, a sweet,
Thanking us again and again.
As the sand in your hourglass neared to its end,
You knew how to utilize your time.
To inquire about our new job, a shidduch to suggest,
As if you were feeling in your prime.
Your modesty was rare, O, what a loss!
You were a sacrifice, for the rest to atone.
They surely rejoiced up Above when you came,
But, Leah, we were left here, alone!
We’ve lost mother and daughter, sister and wife,
Our finest, alas, has moved on!
Our heads are bowed, we weep on end,
The “thorns” need their “rose,” but she’s gone…
I know that the prayers and the tears that were shed
Carved into our hearts their impression
They built and transformed, worked wonders indeed,
With their painful, yet penetrating lesson.
For, we, too, want to be pure as were you,
To rise above matter, beyond “why”
And, like Leah, to amass innumerable merits,
To lead a life of truth, to try.
The final lines, the music fades,
The tears are reluctantly dried.
I’ve written and shared, yet my words cannot paint
Your greatness – I’m just not qualified
No, I just couldn’t capture your towering image,
Not your life, nor the secret of who you are.
All we can do is to learn and to yearn
To be like you, though we are so far.
See, Leah, the fruits of your labor,
The light that you kindled still glows
It continues to shine and illuminate
The Kiddush Hashem yet grows.
The paths that you blazed, rare in their beauty
Many more will yet tread them again,
For this path is not far, it’s within our reach
“Yisgadal v’yiskadash shmei rabbah,” Amen.
What happens afterwards? The thousands of members of Ezer Mizion’s Linked to Life, a WhatsApp group, routinely answer each beep of their phone to see if they are able to respond to the next emergency. They probably wonder what happens after they pick up vital medication or drive someone to a hospital. Read on to see what happened after one Linked to Life volunteer responded to a request to drive a group of volunteers to Rambam Hospital. Continue reading A Volunteer Wonders What Happens Afterwards
I’ll admit it. I had a negative thought there for a moment. I picked up a woman at one of the major hospitals and drove her miles to the city in which she lived. For an instant, I couldn’t help wondering why she called for a volunteer. Couldn’t she have gone by bus? She looked fine, spoke in an upbeat manner, even joked a bit. I’m happy to help people out. After all, that’s why I joined Ezer Mizion’s Linked to Life but from what I could see, I wondered if she really needed help. Continue reading Their Role/ Our Role
It’s interesting. When I was in second grade, my math teacher told me that if we take away, the total amount is less. When I grew up, I found it wasn’t true. If giving my time, my energy, my expertise made me have less in the end, then why would I and 9,000 of my fellow Linked to Life members race to click on any request that comes in and do our best to respond whenever possible? Second grade math teachers notwithstanding, giving away plusses so much more to our lives. Continue reading Linked to Life: One Week
Some say that the new generation is steeped in materialism and can’t see past their ipod screens. Is it true? A recent event in Israel honoring junior volunteers yielded some surprises.
Last summer, M, a sixth grader, noticed something strange going on in her neighbor’s home. Continue reading Volunteering: What the Kids Have Discovered
It’s hard work. Ditza is exhausted each day as she makes her way home, usually quite past her official hours. She needed a bit of encouragement to put some verve into her steps. Recently that encouragement came in the form of two ‘notes from heaven’ showing how much Hashem values her efforts. Continue reading Meals on Wheels: Lottie’s Kitchen
Giving. It’s the wheel that makes the world go around. Some people have discovered its joys and thrive on ‘being there’ for a friend or neighbor with a problem. The Kakoons are such a family. Avrohom Kakoon acts as a chazzan (cantor) and spiritual leader at his shul (synagogue). In his spare time, he also volunteers as an emergency respondent for Hatzalah. His wife, Rina, volunteers as a doula, coaches new mothers and young families in managing their home and in parenting, and also cooks and bakes for families of women after birth. As infants, their seven children imbibed the satisfaction that accompanies giving and the sense of responsibility for those less fortunate. Helping families after birth, running a used clothing center, mentoring youngsters in the community. Driving an ambulance, heading a branch of United Hatzalah, helping out families in the community who are undergoing crises, activity clubs for young people in the community. The Kakoon siblings are involved in all of these. How can they not be? It was the ambience in the home they grew up in.
When the family discovered Ezer Mizion, they clicked with the organization like a magnet to a paper clip. An entity that does not recognize 9-5 hours, whose founder routinely gives out his private cell phone number to recently orphaned children and tells them to call anytime, whose teenage volunteers vie with their friends to obtain an unpaid position in Ezer Mizion’s summer camp for special kids… Ezer Mizion was the perfect partner for the Kakoons.
They helped out in any way they could. One has even undertaken to head the Ezer Mizion’s Modi’in Linked to Life group and another its counterpart in the Migdal HaEmek area. Linked to Life is a What’s App Center which connects people throughout Israel and even Europe, the US and Canada in order to provide for the needs of people around the globe. A surgical device is needed and can’t wait for regular mail. A man from Eretz Yisroel forgot his vital medication and realizes it only when he a several thousand feet in the air, on his way to California. A wheelchair-bound young man living in the North would like to spend Pesach with his family in Jerusalem and needs a ride in a wheelchair-accessible vehicle. Hundreds of people like this are constantly being helped by heads of groups like the Kakoons and the volunteers who drop what they are doing at a buzz of their phone and race out to help a person in trouble.
Avrohom and Rina planted strong seeds which continue to flourish into the next generation. Last summer vacation, while her peers were having fun in the pool and park, Avivah, a granddaughter, discovered another kind of fun. She gathered a group of friends and set up a refreshment stand. The girls popped popcorn and prepared gallons of drinks to sell to passersby. The money? It was donated to Ezer Mizion’s Cancer Support Division to help sick children, of course. Ezer Mizion welcomes Avivah as its newest volunteer and awaits her latest ideas to help those less fortunate than herself. Congratulations, Avivah! You have discovered the much sought after key to happiness.
For the sixth year running, the “Golden Volunteer” ceremony was held in Bat Yam, as part of the schedule of events for “Retirees’ Month,” which salutes the senior population.
The highlight of the event was a film describing the retirees’ volunteer activities, including interviews with the people who nominated the awardees for the honor. Five seniors were awarded the “Golden Volunteer” medallion and another sixteen received certificates of honor.
The five recipients of the “Golden Volunteer” medallion were: Rabbi Yaakov Rozha, neighborhood rabbi, Reservist Lieutenant Colonel serving in the Military Chief Rabbinate, and a volunteer for Zaka (identification of terrorist victims); Chava Stern, community volunteer for decades in the Cancer Association, Akim, Ilan, and the Soldiers’ Benefit Association; Ruth ben Simchon, volunteer at the seniors’ day center; Mirit Dayan, volunteer at Wolfson Medical Center’s oncology ward; and Binyamin Abramov, volunteer at the Bat Yam branch of Ezer Mizion.